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Hot Port News from GAC

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Hot Port News from GAC




Townsville, Australia


Buckeye Bahamas Hub, Bahamas

Hong Kong

Texas & Louisiana, United States

Caribbean Sea


Repair works off West Jurong Channel
Friday, July 24, 2020, Singapore

From 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021, repair works will be carried out off West Jurong Channel, within the working area bounded by the following coordinates (WGS 84 Datum):
1) 01 deg. 17·877’N / 103 deg. 41·230’E
2) 01 deg. 17·918’N / 103 deg. 41·488’E
3) 01 deg. 17·872’N / 103 deg. 41·497’E
4) 01 deg. 17·832’N / 103 deg. 41·237’E

According to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Port Marine Notice No.048 of 2020, the works will be conducted from 0700 to 1900 hours daily, including Sundays and Public Holidays.

Works include maintenance and repairs to existing steel pipe piles at ExxonMobil berths (OM1 – OM4).

A safety boat will be deployed to warn other craft in the vicinity of the working area.

Craft involved in the works will exhibit the appropriate local and international day and night signals.

When in the vicinity of the working area, mariners are reminded to:
a) Keep well clear and not to enter the work area;
b) Maintain a proper lookout;
c) Proceed at a safe speed and navigate with caution;
d) Maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 22 (Jurong Control);
e) Communicate with Jurong Control for assistance, if required.

For information about operations in Singapore, contact GAC Singapore at singapore@gac.com

Restrictions tighten for on-signers amid second wave concerns
Friday, July 24, 2020, Malaysia

There is growing concern in Malaysia about a possible second wave of COVID-19 after quarantined individuals have been found public places and some joining crew members have tested positive with the virus.

Health officials at Kuala Lumpur International Airport are randomly selecting incoming passengers, including seafarers, and imposing 14 days’ quarantine.

In light of this, it is not advisable for crew to join their vessels at Malaysian ports at present. Outgoing crew are currently not subject to this restriction, but measures may be introduced.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Malaysia, contact GAC Malaysia at shipping.malaysia@gac.com

New cargo terminal opened
Friday, July 24, 2020, Townsville, Australia

A new cargo terminal has been officially opened at the Port of Townsville’s upgraded Berth 4 Terminal.

The upgraded storage facility is part of the $30 million Berth 4 Crane and Cargo project that will feature a new ship-to-shore crane that is scheduled for delivery in late 2020. The crane is expected to be in operation by the second quarter of 2021, increasing the berth capacity by around 20%.

For information about operations in Australia, contact GAC Australia at shipping.australia@gac.com

AMSA launches campaign targeting container ships
Friday, July 24, 2020, Australia

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is launching a focused inspection campaign targeting cargo securing arrangements on container ships visiting Australian ports.

This inspection campaign is being initiated in response to several serious incidents involving shipping containers lost overboard recently.

Incidents like the losses of 81 containers off Newcastle by the YM Efficiency in 2018, 50 containers off Wollongong by the APL England in May and three containers from the Navios Unite off Cape Leeuwin in June have caused significant environmental damage to Australia’s iconic marine and coastal environment. These events affect the livelihoods and safety of commercial fishers and, more broadly, communities across Australia

Incident investigations by AMSA have discovered that the improper stacking and securing of cargo and poor maintenance of securing equipment are likely to have been contributing factors to these incidents…

…The focused inspection campaign will run from the beginning of August until the end of October and will involve both extended port State control (PSC) inspections and stand-alone inspections on vessels which are not currently eligible for PSC inspection. If a cargo ship visits Australia over this period, the Master should expect that AMSA will visit the ship as part of this focused campaign.

Where vessels are found to be non-compliant AMSA will take steps to bring the ship into compliance before it is able to continue operating.

AMSA encourages ship owners and masters to familiarise themselves with the approved cargo securing manual for their vessel and Marine order 42 which gives effect to Chapter VI of SOLAS in Australia.

This focused inspection campaign is aimed at education, improving standards, and reducing the number of incidents that result in cargo being lost at sea.

More information can be found on AMSA’s website www.amsa.gov.au

(For information about operations in Australia, contact GAC Australia at shipping.australia@gac.com)

Source: Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) news release dated 22 July 2020

Port opened after weather improves
Friday, July 24, 2020, Buckeye Bahamas Hub, Bahamas

Due to improving weather conditions, Buckeye Bahamas Hub changed its Port Status from Port Restricted to Port Open at 1236 hours last night (23 July).

(For information about operations in the Bahamas, contact the GAC Houston Hub Agency Center at hub.us@gac.com)

Source: Elnet Maritime – GAC agent

COVID-19 testing for arriving crew
Friday, July 24, 2020, Hong Kong

The following new procedure has been implemented for crew members arriving in Hong Kong to sign on to a vessel.

When sea crews arrive at Hong Kong to sign-on to a vessel, point-to-point transfers should be arranged by the shipping companies/agents for crew members to and from the vessel. The driver’s information must be recorded as the Department of Health may require their contact information for contact tracing.
Public transport, including taxis, cannot be used for point-to-point transport of crews.

All signing-on crew members arriving from Hong Kong International Airport must have a negative result of SARS-CoV-2 nuclei acid test at their last place of embarkation within 48 hours prior to their departure. The test shall be performed by an ISO 15189-accredited laboratory or a laboratory recognised by the Government where laboratory is located.

The shipping company/agent must declare in the guarantee letter to be submitted to the Immigration Department that the crew member(s) concerned has/have been tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid within 48 hours prior to their time of departure from the place of embarkation in an ISO 15189-accredited laboratory or a laboratory recognised by the Government where the laboratory is located.

The crew must present the test report and guarantee letter to staff of Department of Health (DH) when they enters Hong Kong. At least one copy of guarantee letter should be prepared to be carried by each crew when arriving Hong Kong for submission to DH staff.

Crew members who do not possess negative test results will be denied entry, and the shipping company/agent concerned must arrange to fly them back to their originating country(ies) forthwith.

All sea crew must proceed to DH’s Temporary Specimen Collection Centre at the AsiaWorld-Expo to have their deep throat saliva samples collected upon arrival at the Hong Kong International Airport. An emergency local contact phone number must be provided in the guarantee letter for prompt contact in an emergency.
For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Hong Kong, contact GAC Hong Kong at shipping.hongkong@gac.com

Tropical Storm Hanna expected to strengthen
Friday, July 24, 2020, Texas & Louisiana, United States

At 400 AM CDT (0900 UTC), Tropical Storm Hanna was near latitude 26.7 North, longitude 92.4 West. Hanna is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h) and a turn toward the west is expected tonight, followed by a generally westward motion through the weekend. On the forecast track, the storm center should make landfall along the Texas coast within the warning area on Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is expected until the system makes landfall. Steady weakening is expected after Hanna moves inland…

WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area by tonight or Saturday morning. Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area by tonight or Saturday morning.

RAINFALL: Hanna is expected to produce 4 to 8 inches of rain with isolated maximum totals of 12 inches through Sunday night in south Texas. This rain may result in life-threatening flash flooding, rapid rises on small streams, and isolated minor to moderate river flooding in south Texas. 3 to 5 inches of rain is expected along the upper Texas and Louisiana coasts, and inland to the Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and northern Tamaulipas.

SURF: Swells generated by Hanna are expected to increase and affect much of the Texas and Louisiana coasts during the next few days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

(For information about operations in the Americas, contact the GAC Houston Hub Agency Center at hub.us@gac.com)

Source: Extract from National Hurricane Center, Miami FL, Tropical Storm Hanna Advisory No.6 issued at 400am AST on Fri Jul 24 2020

Gonzalo expected to bring tropical storm conditions
Friday, July 24, 2020, Caribbean Sea

At 500 AM AST (0900 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Gonzalo was near latitude 10.0 North, longitude 51.8 West and moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h). A westward to west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected through the weekend.

On the forecast track, the center of Gonzalo will approach the southern Windward Islands tonight and move across these islands Saturday and into the eastern Caribbean Sea Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 km/h) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next day or two, and there is still a chance that Gonzalo could become a hurricane before reaching the Windward Islands. Weakening is expected after Gonzalo moves into the Caribbean Sea, and the cyclone is expected to dissipate by the middle of next week…

(For information about operations in the Americas, contact the GAC Houston Hub Agency Center at hub.us@gac.com)

Source: Extract from National Hurricane Center, Miami FL, Tropical Storm Gonzalo Advisory No.11 issued at 500am AST on Fri Jul 24 2020

Revision of crew change regulations
Friday, July 24, 2020, Singapore

Singapore has seen three cases within one week, where crew members scheduled to sign-on to ocean-going cargo ships were found to be COVID-19 positive upon arrival. This has prevented the shipping companies concerned from conducting successful crew changes. Resources were also put in to isolate and minimise the probability of any spread of the virus to others including fellow crew members.

Given the increasing number of crew change applications, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will need to prioritise new crew change applications. These will include crew with expiry of contracts which flag States are not extending further, Singapore-registered ships, and crew sign-offs.

With immediate effect:

MPA will give priority to applications from Singapore-registered ships and applications for sign-off crew only (i.e. without signing-on new crew).

For all other cases, MPA will consider the following circumstances for crew change applications:
(a) the crew has served his/her maximum time on board and no further extension of the employment contract is granted by the flag State; or
(b) compassionate grounds e.g. death of immediate family member; or
(c) the crew is no longer medically fit to work onboard the ship.

MPA is also working with the industry taskforce to review the guidelines on the ‘safe-corridor’ procedures in order to safeguard the crew change process. This includes the need to self-isolate while serving the 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN), to ensure accurate COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, and direct transfers from airport to ship for the crew while in Singapore to minimise contact.

MPA has separately provided guidance to all Singapore-registered ships on the best practices that they can adopt. For example, if any crew on board is tested for COVID-19 while the ship is in port, the ship should wait for the test results and take necessary measures before departing the port.

As an added precaution in the Port of Singapore, all shore personnel in contact with ship crew are advised to don face shields or goggles in addition to face masks and gloves when working on the ships. For ships which have conducted crew change in the past 14 days, shore personnel are advised to ensure that there is no contact with the ship crew.
(For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Singapore, contact GAC Singapore at singapore@gac.com)

Source: Singapore Shipowners’ Association

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